Microsoft Office 365 implementation for ABC International

A case study on Stylus System’s successful achievement in implementing Microsoft Office 365 for ABC International’s demand to implement an appropriate solution that can enable various types of collaborative efforts between the organization and the members themselves.

Office 365 Implementation -Case Study

Client Overview

ABC International is a not for profit organization, currently active in more than 25 countries. Teams from ABC engage directly and in partnership with local development agencies to impact individuals and communities. ABC also provides a deployment platform for mobilization agencies that raise funds and human resources, but do not have the capability to deploy, care for, and manage these resources on the field.

Requirement

Implement an appropriate solution that will enable various types of collaborative efforts between the organization and the members themselves

Solution

Implementation of a reliable cloud solution – the Microsoft Office 365

Result

Successful in fulfilling ABC International’s global ambitions with smart IT resources allocation in a reliable cloud solution-Office 365

Business Task:

ABC International realized the increasing demand of setting up a unified presence with a common IT platform to keep up with the rapid growth of business and cater for the increasing demand from users for communication access anytime, in key locations around the world.

They were using a mix of different tools to provide a minimum level of collaboration. All their members seconded from the US office have access to their financial statement through a login provided on the Serenic Naavigator software managed by ABC International’s US office. Serenic has provided an eConnect software that ports data from the navigator system to a web page.

Members seconded from other offices currently have updated access to their financial statement through separate means. With their existed set up there was a single intranet site managed by the US office and all the content changes and updates have to be sent to the US office and updated manually. But the work load was more and the US team was unable to handle and resulted in longer delays.

In this difficult scenario, the client was in search of a system that can provide functions like:

  1. Forms – post forms with ability to download or submit online with forwarding to the specified people (e.g., Expense Reimbursement, Monthly Report, Furlough Plan, Annual Review, Team Report, Min Plan, Min Description, Project Proposal, Seconded Quarterly Report, and Seconding Agreement)
  2. Financials – US Office members may view their own personal support accounts; international account holders and their supervisors may view ABC International account information.
  1. Database:  Storing personal and team data; where people and groups may update their own profiles; people may search for contact information for other members; analysis of report information.
  1. Teams – ability to set up work groups for teams and task forces to share documents and resources.
  2. Calendar – ability to set up group calendars; set organization-wide reminders for repetitive events or tasks.
  3. Communication – ability for specific people to send messages to membership (various mailing groups) with a link to read full message online and post comments.
  4. Conferencing – ability to initiate conference calls/video conferences with people inside and outside of the organization, including hosting training webinars.
  5. Documents – Administrators may post documents on the Intranet and teams may upload documents onto Team Sites. The Field Handbook will be integrated into the Intranet and will be editable by Authorized Users.
  6. Resources – downloadable articles, papers, publications, presentations, videos, graphics, pictures, webinars created by your own people.
  7. Email – Administrators may set up individual email accounts, and allow access via multiple devices.

Business Solution:

 After considering several scenarios, ABC International and Stylus came to a conclusion that Office 365’s complete suite of solutions from email to collaboration would be the best one to meet the requirements of long-term business growth, allied to robust security from a trustworthy brand. Office 365 implementation benefited ABC International in :

 

1)      Integrating with Microsoft Office (offline).

2)      Setting up a public website

3)      Developing Group Sites, shared calendars

4)      Uploading and sharing documents including documents created using MS Office

5)      Videoconferencing using Microsoft Lync.

6)      Mail management using Outlook and Microsoft Exchange online

7)      Ability to customize using code written on Microsoft.NET

8)      Special pricing availability to ABC International

How Stylus helped?

As the next step, Stylus implemented Intranet solution using Office 365, by setting up all the necessary requirements like

1.Forms: 

Implemented the below forms with their associated workflows, within the system:

  • Expense-kilometers.xls
  • Monthly Report.doc
  • Furlough Plan.doc
  • Annual Team Report.doc
  • Annual Review.doc
  • Min Plan.doc
  • Church Planter MD.doc
  • Project Proposal.doc
  • Quarterly Report.doc (replacing the Second Quarterly Report.doc)
  • Second Agreement Report.doc
  •  360 Leader Review.doc
  • Personnel Request Form.doc
  • Contingency Plan.doc
  1. Financials:
    • Stylus modified the Intranet such that it displays an eConnect link to users who have access permission to view this link. On clicking this link, the user will be automatically logged into eConnect and will be taken to the eConnect dashboard.  Users may return to the Intranet either by closing this window, or by clicking on the link inside the eConnect dashboard.
    • Stylus also scheduled a task in QuickBooks to export the International report prepared by Stylus Financial Services Team, and upload their report in Office 365

3.     Database

  • Office 365 allows users to be imported into the Intranet using a .csv file.  ABC  International filled up all the user details in a specific excel template as suggested by us and send us the file. We imported this file into the Intranet and created all users.
  • Fields like spouse name, focus group, affinity, designation are imported into the Intranet by a custom script developed by Stylus, using information given by ABC International
  • Stylus created scripts to map supervisors and departments to individual users, using the input data from ABC International
  • We also created a people directory for users to search for other users within the Intranet. The search will allow users to search based on affinity, department, location, focus group and designation
  1. Documents
  • Stylus uploaded the field handbook into the Intranet. Handbook appear as each webpages on the Intranet site. Each section of the handbook will have links to forms connected with it
  • Stylus also set up a permissions for users or user groups specified by ABC International, to manage the content in the Field Handbook.

      5. Teams

  • We created team sites for departments and offices specified by ABC International. We also created user groups which have relevant permissions to access these team sites.

 

6. Calendar

  • Stylus set up 5 Events in the ABC International-wide Event Calendar. Teams can freely set up their own SharePoint Event Calendars. Individual users can also set up their own calendars using MS Exchange online

 

7. Communication to support base:

  • Office 365 helped each user to setup their own personal website within the Intranet and share it with specified individuals both inside and outside the organization. This replaced the use of Newsletters.
  • Personal Websites have the option to activate RSS feeds so that interested subscribers continued to keep up with new posts on the website, without having to come to the site itself.

         8. Public Site

  •      Stylus setup a public website site for ABC International using content given to us and given a link. For a first time user, this link will take them to the Intranet’s login page, and for a returning user, it may take them directly to the main homepage in the Intranet.

9. Reports

In order to measure how well the Solution addresses the Problem Statement, Stylus built the following system reports to measure the usage of the Intranet site:

  1. Report to measure usage of People Search.
  2. Report of number of documents shared in the team sites.
  3. Report to measure usage of forms.

10.User Help Document

Stylus created user help document which will cover all functionality within the Intranet site, which users are likely to use.

11. Train the Trainer

Stylus given one round of training using Microsoft Lync, to a team of Intranet site administrators/ trainers designated by ABC International.  This training session was recorded as a webinar and uploaded to the Intranet site for future reference.

12.User Support

Stylus sent an email notifications to all users when the Intranet site is available for use and provided email support for 12 weeks after launch and provided assistance to:

  1. Create team sites
  2. Create user groups
  3. Change or add permissions to groups
  4. Add or change user profiles
  5. Edit the handbook
  6. Enable ABC International users by providing short training sessions on specific functionality.
  7. Fix any errors that might occur within the Intranet site.

In addition to this, users gained access to use the help facility that come built in with Office 365 to address most usage related issues.

13. Applications built on MS Access.

The then used version of Office 365 used SharePoint 2010, which does not allowed for Access applications to run within the Intranet. So Stylus uploaded the Access application to the intranet site as a document.

The authorized users of the application may download (check-out) the Access application onto their desktop, run the application (assuming that they have the relevant version of Microsoft Access installed on their desktop) and check-in the application back into the Intranet while updating it. When one user has checked-out the application, the status of the application will show as Checked-Out and other authorized users will not be able to check-out the application.

The users who are assigned Edit permission may download (check-out) the application and make changes to the whole application including forms, database and reports and upload the application back into the intranet site.

The users who are assigned Read-Only permission can download the application and make modifications to it. But they will not be allowed to check-in the application back to the intranet site.

If you see a similar opportunity for your enterprise, talk to us. And join the many intelligent businesses that use Stylus services to make technology empower your business to grow revenue, reduce cost and deepen relationships with your employees and customers.

Microsoft ‘Clutter’ to de-clutter your inbox in Office 365

The software giant Microsoft has revealed ‘Clutter’, a feature designed to keep you focused only on the most important mails in your inbox. The clutter email tool is now live for Outlook Web App in Office 365. With the help of the clutter tool Outlook Web App (OWA) will filter the lower priority messages into a new Clutter folder.

clutter to declutter

 

Through Office Graph, a machine learning concept, Microsoft borrowed from Yammer’s social Enterprise Graph, OWA decides which mails are not a priority and automatically sort them. The filtering will be done by learning the user’s habits and preferences. Clutter is disabled by default and once it is turned on it begins taking actions after learning from your work style and preferences. You can turned off the clutter any time.

Clutter gets better the longer you use it and will adapt to changes in usage patterns. Alternatively users can train the clutter by simply tagging emails or dragging them into the clutter folder. The clutter folder allows you to take advantage of the features across many email clients including Outlook, OWA, OWA for devices or EAS connected devices.

The facility is already available to English language business users who have opted into Microsoft’s First Release program. Standard release business customers will see their updates rolling out later this month.

Similar to Google’s recently released self-teaching inbox, with clutter Microsoft is hoping to evolve emails into something intelligent that can learn from user’s preferences.

Microsoft reveals Office 365 business road map

In a bid to publicly lure more customers to the platform, Microsoft unveils a business road map to future Office 365 enhancements and additions. The business public road map provides you with a way to learn more about upcoming updates before the change comes to your service. Microsoft new office 365 road map offer the users live updates on which new features have shipped, which are rolling out and which are under development.

Microsoft on its website has divided the Office 365 for business for road map into five categories named, Launched, Rolling out, in Development, Cancelled and Previous Releases. As per Microsoft, the new release provides the user a way to learn more about upcoming updates before the change comes to your service.

Along with Office 365 road map, in an attempt to forge a more open relationship with customers, it also announced an opt-in program called First Release that gives customers early access to new features.

Both the road map and First Release are targeted at business and institutional customers, not consumers. Consequently, Office 365 for business road map does not apply to Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal.

(All trademarks used belong to their respective owners)

Top Cloud Services for business

From storing information to sending messages and listening music, everything is currently moving to the cloud. Business are increasingly finding cloud as a clever option to save money, scale back risk and acquire the foremost utility from existing processes and technologies. There are virtually several cloud services in the market as the clouds in the sky. Here is a selected list of cloud services which can be the right solution and approach for your unique business needs.

Cloud Services

Office 365: Microsoft Office 365, a subscription based online and software plus service suite is a smart choice for business. It is one of the best communication and collaboration tools from Microsoft. The rising demand of Office 365 could probably mark the end of traditional, on premise Windows server administrators. With the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Publisher, this Microsoft platform can effectively manage all communication and collaboration within the organization.

SkyDrive : A free online librarywherethe user can store access and share thousands of documents, photos and Microsoft Office files. It provides a free storage of 7GB. It can be used not just to back up your data or even it supports secure and public sharing of files.

SageOne : It is a cloud-based accounting and invoicing solution best for small business.This online invoicing software includes complete management of invoicing need and report generation. It has a solid interface and intuitive workflow with 5GB online storage space. SageOne can be a perfect choice for those with project management as the mainstay in business operation

Windows Intune: It is cloud-based management solution from Microsoft that will allow you to manage your internet connected PCs and keep them secure. It allows users to manage devices in a flexible way either completely from the cloud or connected to an existing System Center Configuration Manager infrastructure. It offers support from all popular platforms like Windows, iOS and Android.

Adobe FormsCentral : Adobe FormsCentral provides easy-to-design online forms and delivers analytics from data collected from them. This service allows you to “easily create, distribute, and analyze online forms.” It also offers business intelligence data analysis tools. Quick and easy-to-use Business Intelligence capability is integrated with form design. The BI components allow businesses to analyze data gathered from submitted forms, which can be embedded in websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, or in email campaigns.

With the Cloud services springing up everywhere, desktop apps are moving largely to backstage. These cloud services can probably improve business owner’s capability to access, share and protect company’s data.

At Stylus, we already embraced the cloud by moving email, collaboration and document management onto Microsoft’s Office 365. With Office 365 providing Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office Web Apps services, we find this platform can effectively manage all communication and collaboration within the organization, with minimal retraining of technical staff or users.

Contact us to know in detail the cloud platforms that we work on.

(All trademarks used belong to their respective owners)

Microsoft Office 365-for future business (Infographic)

Microsoft Office 365, a subscription based online office and software plus service perfect for any small organizations having limited technology resources or even larger companies that want to spend less time in administering IT. This infographic depicts how Office 365 empowers organizations with its benefits, features and how it attracts your attention.

Office 365 for business